July 25, 2007

Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and Awards

The Week's Picks and Pans, plus Awards of Dubious Merit

Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups.  Recommendation does
not factor in price.  Not all books will have arrived in your area this week.
Almost done with summer semester.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 
             homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants 

     Note: I will be at a conference in Greensboro NC next week, so I won't
be getting comics until Friday.

First Look Comments:

     Books I read over the weekend as First Looks, but didn't buy, so can't
really say much in detail about.  DC has stopped having First Looks, so it's
just Marvel and Image...and there's word that Diamond doesn't want to bother
with the program at all anymore.

     Books for next week - 

     None.  Spent the afternoon grading final exams.

     Short, relatively spoiler-free reviews of books I actually bring home
(as opposed to reading in preview form in the shop or online).  If I get a
book late due to distributor foulups or whatever, I'll put it in the Missing

     Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Doktor
Sleepless #1, Blue Beetle #17

     Annihilation: Conquest Starlord #1 (of 4): Marvel - Snarky and fairly
well thought out.  The art is a bit on the shaky side, but works.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     Cable & Deadpool #43: Marvel - Yet another craptacular Scotty "I wanna
be Sienkiewicz" Young cover.  Fortunately, the interiors are Ron "Really fast
but not thereby sucking" Lim work.  The story inside is your basic
"conflicting paradigms" story...Deadpool trying to resolve things inside
*his* paradigm before *Wolverine's* paradigm guts everyone in range.  That
sort of thing.  Of course, Deadpool's paradigm tends to be almost as
destructive.  Okay, maybe there's not a lot of difference, just adjust the
level of snark.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.75Cn
     All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #3 (of 4):
Marvel - Lopresti's cover looks significantly better than the usual badly
composed and hurriedly sketched OHOTMU-neo cover.  Some of this issue's stuff
feels like overflow from the Mystic book (i.e. the Annunaki or Lord Order and
Master Chaos).  Namor gets the big entry this time out, with five pages all
his own.  The glossary wraps up to Z, so #4 will have something else on the
inside back cover.  Recommended.  $3.99/$4.75Cn
     Transformers: Megatron Origin #2 (of 4): IDW - Cy-Kill dies another
death in the opening scene.  Poor guy.  Anyway, the story skips ahead a bit,
and is slightly easier to follow.  The art is still murky and the flow iffy,
but both Milne and Matere (each has about half the issue) do an acceptable if
not great job.  The corruption of the Autobots is expanded on this issue as
well, and made a little more palatable, IMO.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     Fallen Angel v2 #18: IDW - The Shi guest appearance continues, and so
does PAD's structural fun.  Rather than flip-book parallelism this time,
however, we're getting the contrasting inner and outer existence.  Both Shi
and Lee have thought-captions as well as speaking, but almost everything Shi
thinks is kept to narration while almost everything Lee thinks comes right
out of her mouth with zero editing.  A study in contrasts beyond the simple
theist/antitheist divide set up last issue (Lee is not an atheist.  She
believes in God.  And thinks he's a jerk.)  Snark versus sincerity, fun
times.  Recommended.  $3.99
     Doktor Sleepless: Future Science Jesus #1: Avatar Press - Okay, I've
been avoiding Avatar in general and Ellis at Avatar in specific for years
now, but the solicits for this were too tempting to pass up.  It opens a bit
incoherently, but not gratuitous in content, context or conceit.  Interesting
art bit from Rodriguez: all of the black fills are speckled with color, as if
the darkness had started to peel and flake like an old paint job.  Set in a
semi-recognizable future (similar to, but not as whacked out as,
Transmetropolitan), it repeats a number of Ellis's favorite tropes, but seems
to have crystalized a new (well, new to me, but there's lots of Ellis's stuff
I don't read, so he could have done this already) position on the matter:
stop bitching about how the future you were promised never arrived, and take
advantage of the future you HAVE.  In other words, the answer to "Where's my
jetpack?" is "I don't know, why don't you check your (expletive) pocket-sized
supercomputer?"  Granted, for extra contrast Ellis brings in purely
speculative tech elements (like contact lens computers), but most of the
things the good Doktor says can be applied just as well to the real world
present day with a few dialogue tweaks.  A very promising start, strongly
recommended.  $3.99
     Invincible #44: Image - Hey, a Viltrumite without a mustache!  Heh.
Anyway, three subplots (which, frankly, are the real plots in this book most
of the time) get some time, and then the Viltrumite thing comes back to the
front.  Kirkman does a good job of showing how the bad guys don't really see
themselves as bad...merely practical.  A better alternative to what would
happen without them.  And they probably believe it, too.  Of course, it's all
very colonial "white man's burden" in nature, but I'll stop before I go too
deeply into historical parallels for what is, after all, mainly just fun (if
bloody) storytelling.  Recommended.  $2.99/$3.20 (As of today, the exchange
rate is $1 US = $1.04 Cn, so even this is behind the curve.)
     Teen Titans #49: DC - Amazons Attack suck-in.  Not as bad as last issue,
and more focused on the shade of gray and so forth, but it still tends
towards the preachy side.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Superman #665: DC - Has a Countdown banner, but it's really a done in
one story of how Jimmy Olsen came to be a part of both Clark's and Superman's
life.  In other words, don't let the Countdown taint scare you away from
what's actually a pretty good story by Busiek with art by Leonardi.
Recommended.  $2.99/$3.65Cn
     Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #32: DC - Artist Calero has a
semi-realistic style.  Which is to say, he makes costumes look stupid, often
has poses and composition that are too sedate, and really should be working
something OTHER than superhero books.  As an added bonus, either they put the
wrong cover on this issue, or just didn't care, since this issue focuses on
Sun Boy, Mekt and Star Boy, not the trio on the cover.  It's a decent story,
once you get past the inappropriate art, though.  Mildly recommended.
     Blue Beetle #17: DC - A done in one story plugged into the overall Reach
arc.  No huge developments (Jaime Learns A Lesson About Being A Hero, but
it's something he's seen before in other contexts), but plenty of Rogers's
usual good character work and banter (especially in the sidekicks scene).
Albuquerque's rough-hewn art carries the story well, as usual.  While there
isn't a Big Shining Moment to point at, Rogers continues to show that he Gets
Superheroes (and that I Overuse Capitalization).  Strongly recommended.

Gone Missing:

     Stuff that came out some places this week and that I wanted to buy, but
couldn't find for whatever reason, so people don't have to email me asking
"Why didn't you review X?"  (If it's neither here nor in the section above,
though, feel free to ask, I might have forgotten about it!) 

     Current list as of 7/25:

     Still missing and might come in: Fallen Angel #15, Levitation and Wire
Mother GNs from GT Labs (store had computer crash in May, they never got
ordered), Transformers Timelines (wasn't available on the retailer order form
in the first place!).  At least nothing new added this week.
     Cancelled by Diamond (again): Dr. Debunko: the Short Stories, Devil's
Panties #7-8.


"Not Exactly A Gun BUNNY" Award to Annihilation: Conquest Starlord #1 (of 4)

"Weasel Needs To Get Laid, Seriously" Award to Cable & Deadpool #43

"Boot To The Head" Award to All-New OHOTMU A-Z Update #3 (of 4)

"Gordon Geckobot" Award to Transformers: Megatron Origin #2 (of 4)

"Guess It Ain't Just Hades And Persephone" Award to Fallen Angel v2 #18

"Jetpack Grinder Radio" Award to Doktor Sleepless #1

"Just Don't Offer Her A Diet Coke" Award to Invinicble #44

"Artemis Congeniality" Award to Teen Titans #49

"Orders Of Magnitude" Award to Superman #665

"You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Hungry" Award to Supergirl and the Legion of
     Super-Heroes #32

"Doesn't Everybody Want To Wear The Tights, Deep Down?" Award to Blue 
     Beetle #17

     Dave Van Domelen, "Electricity can only be replentished by whiskey.
This is actual physics.  Do not argue with me.  I am a Doktor." - Doktor
Sleepless #1
     Bonus Quote: "I have energy beams.  And you have no pants.  Do the
math." - Blue Beetle #17
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